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Newport Mansions and Cliff Walk in Rhode Island: Opinions?

Newport, Rhode Island Mansions of the Cliff Walk
Does this mansion make you want to jump for joy or punch a wall?

How should the super-rich use their money?

Touring the famous mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, recently, half of me screamed, “You people spent your money on THIS?! Think of the world problems you could have solved with all that loot!”

But my other half shyly whispered, “Sure, but it’s awesome that this sight exists. My eyes are happy!

Newport, Rhode Island Mansions: front gate of Marble House mansion.
The imposing front gate of Marble House mansion.

Visiting the Newport, RI Mansions

Tourists aren’t allowed to take photos inside the Newport mansions, but the innards are a million times more shocking than the exteriors.

Curlicues of real gold swirl around imported marble, silver, gems, and precious wood in every corner of the rooms. Think Great Gatsby times fifty. So… was it worth it?

Newport, RI mansions
Would YOU live in this mansion? Should it even have been built?

The Cliff Walk by the Mansions is Awesome

In terms of tourism, I’m sure Rhode Island is thrilled about this financial allocation. The Cliff Walk of Newport between the mansions and the ocean is one of Rhode Island’s most beloved attractions, and brings visitors from around the world.

Heck– I’ve done the walk more times than I have fingers, and each time it makes me as happy as a pregnant woman finishing her annoying first trimester symptoms!

Cliff walk by Newport mansions
I’m not sure this Newport mansion back yard is big enough.

Newport Mansion Owners Did Philanthropy

I might add that the super-rich Newport mansion families like the Vanderbilts did also donate a good deal of their wealth to positive community causes that we still benefit from today, such as Grand Central Station in New York City, and women’s voting rights.

Does philanthropy like that give the super-rich license to blow the rest of their fortune on overt luxury beyond belief?

Cliff Walk in Newport, RI
The spectacular Cliff Walk view behind each Newport mansion.

These Rhode Island Mansions Show What’s Possible

In fact, these unbelievable demonstrations of wealth expand a visitor’s view of what is possible for humanity. Yes, it IS possible to create a house with 75 rooms that you only live in for two months of the year.

Yes, it IS possible to make an entire house out of marble. Yes, it IS possible to re-create a Chinese tea house on the side of an American cliff. Exhilarating!

Breakers mansion, Newport RI
Colin looking manly behind the famed Breakers mansion.

Ethics of Mansions and Luxury Hotels

I had similar ethical questions when touring Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi: the second most expensive hotel ever built, which cost THRE BILLION DOLLARS.

Maybe you won’t go so far as condoning mansion building, but how do you feel about people who can afford to, and do, pay $1,000 a night for a hotel room? Should such lavish hotels even exist?

Graffiti on a tunnel in the Cliff Walk behind the mansions. Is Love life, or is Money?
Graffiti on a tunnel in the Cliff Walk behind the mansions. Is Love life, or is Money?

The Thrill of Luxury Displays

At the end of the day, methinks these gorgeous and crazy displays of wealth are going to happen, whether they are logical, ethical, good, or not.

They cause too much titillation to ever be seriously limited: titillation of the eyes and that thrill of the spirit that asks, “Might I ever be rich enough to indulge in something like this, too? Maybe!”

The side philanthropic pursuits also add enough benefit to society to keep the masses from rebelling against the screaming luxury.

How do YOU think the super-rich should use their money?
How do YOU think the super-rich should use their money?

What Do YOU Think of the Newport Mansions?

So what are YOUR thoughts, readers? Should shockingly grand mansions like these in Newport even have been built? Have you enjoyed or been repulsed by such grand architecture, be it in the form of palaces or luxury hotels? Do share!

See more famous architecture and art inspiration here.

Cliff Walk sign, Newport, RI
A warning sign on the Cliff Walk behind the mansions. When do we fall off the cliff of lavishness?

Enjoyed this article? Consider using the following affiliate links to search Newport hotel deals, or browse Newport vacation home rentals, as it will provide a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks, and happy travels!


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Nicole Barry

Friday 11th of March 2016

If those build legacies like that then I guess they need the estates to go with it:)


Saturday 12th of March 2016

I suppose so!

Marina K. Villatoro

Saturday 22nd of June 2013

Ooooohhhh, I'm going to be there in one week! I was there almost 20 years ago, I studied in Providence, and love love love Newport. But am now returning with my family.

We are only doing the Breakers, I think one mansion is enough. So looking forward to it. Love the pictures!!!! Especially the cliff walk, which we'll tackle only a tiny portion of.


Saturday 22nd of June 2013

Have a fantastic time! The mansions are such sensory overload that seeing just one should be fine. We liked seeing one on the first day and another on the second.


Sunday 2nd of June 2013

Newport is one of my favorite places! This is an interesting take on the mansions. I'm glad that they were built -- if the rich didn't do things like build manions, who would? I like having beautiful things to look at. And I certainly don't want to have to rely on institutions to do it. I'm glad when individuals do it privately too. The more beauty in the world, the better!

Penny Sadler

Sunday 2nd of June 2013

I agree they are eye candy. The problems with money, consumption, and avoiding taxes are pretty much the same today as when they were built. ( how about that 1%) Still, I agree with the others who have commented, how you chose to spend your money is your business. Great story!


Sunday 2nd of June 2013

Looking at the shot of the backyard, is it too big, I envisioned my 3-year old grandson driving his battery operated quad around it. (You know, like the Barbie corvette only made for tough guys) I'd say it was just perfect.


Saturday 1st of June 2013

I agree with Larissa. It's their money, and they can do whatever they choose with it. I don't want anyone telling me what to do with my hard earned cash, and likewise, I would not think to tell anyone what to do with theirs. There is always going to be disparity in this world. Money doesn't solve all of our problems. In fact, it's the bane of some of the worst problems. At least these homes attract some tourist to the area who put money into the local economy. It's all about the circle of things.


Sunday 2nd of June 2013

I'd say "Love is Life" but money's helpful.

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